Sarah McDowell, founder, The Leader Centre

Sarah McDowell is a massive advocate of three things – Rochdale, education and business.

The entrepreneur is the owner of The Leader Centre and lives in Rochdale. Sarah’s children go to schools in Rochdale and she’s a trustee at Hollingworth and Newhouse Academy Trust. 

“I got involved because the headteacher Mr Randall inspired me with his vision for the schools,” she said. “I’m a big believer in the power of education to change lives and what the schools do strongly resonates with the purpose for my own business, which is all about ongoing learning and development, even at the chief executive level.”

Sarah identified two special things about Rochdale that she really loves. “The first is Hollingworth Lake,” she said. “It’s my favourite place to walk my dog Rollo. It lifts my spirits.  I also love Rochdale’s ambition.  I’m blown away by the initiatives to develop Rochdale. 

“The council, Rochdale Development Agency and businesses are all working together to develop our town.  I’m fortunate enough to work with the RDA and I see the incredible work they do bringing investment into the town and promoting development and job creation.”

Sarah singled out Tony Bannan, CEO of PTG Holroyd as somebody she particularly admired. “I’ve worked with Tony and his team at Holroyd and he not only runs a brilliant business and is a real expert in his field, he’s also a really good person,” she said.

Sarah said Rochdale is great for business and predicted its best days are ahead of it. “The location at J21 on the M62 is ideal for anyone who travels like me,” she said. “You’re right by the motorway to Leeds or Manchester and of course we have the tram.  The support for businesses is brilliant.  The council, RDA and Ambassador businesses are all working together to develop Rochdale.  It’s the ambition of the town.  Businesses will see that and want to be part of it. “Rochdale is on an upwards trajectory and I’m looking forward to helping shape that future.”

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